Tony Vieira's Comments
22 October 2017


Receive email notices when a commentary is uploaded. Join our mailing list.

E-Mail Address:

View Article

State of Guyana
(Aired 9 June 2006)


   Every now and then I like to do a commentary on the state of the republic. More often than not I try to interject some humour into these reports since the alternative would be to sit on the ground and cry.

   First of all we have the state of the country's economy, amidst rumours that the IDB will not be giving Guyana any further loans unless we further devalue the Guyana dollar we have the situation where the government having sold 20 million US$ in bonds are now unable to repay the investors who bought these bonds. Amidst widespread disbelief that the government can sink this low, Robert Persaud the Master of Bad Administration says that he is seeking Paris club assistance to pay the people who invested in these bonds. This is called digging one hole to fill another, great administration Lambada, look around you ladies and gentlemen but be careful where you walk since there are a lot of holes around.

     The bonds were issued to restructure the bauxite industry since 1994 and the restructuring as usual as with everything else the PPP have touched has failed, this government has borrowed millions of US$ since coming to power and have been given debt relief for almost all of it, so I presume that they expect that the persons who invested in these bonds will also forgive them this debt.

    They have also failed to address the rising cost of living and the low salaries that the workers in the state endure; I say endure since it is ludicrous to say the salaries they enjoy.

     Our Minister of Health who has become an excuser maker for the PPP, now has to face the fact that as far as HIV/AIDS goes he and his ministry have been a complete failure and that the incidence of HIV/AIDS in the country is at an all time high, the American Government gave us 12 million US$ in 2004, 19.4 million US$ in 2005 and this year the US plans to give Ramsammy another 21.7 million US$ this is a lot of money ladies and gentlemen over 50 million US$ from 2004 to 2006, but it has not reduced the incidence of HIV in this country one iota, in fact it is increasing, where is this money going?

   In my commentary on HIPC nations aired on the 20th Jan 2002 for those who have access to the tonyvguy website I quoted from professor Thomas an economist at the University of Maryland  who studied the 41 HIPC nations and said this " debt relief packages do not go to the poor, it goes to the same governments that racked up the debts in the first place, many of which are weak, corrupt and authoritarian, hardly the best intermediaries to carry out a philanthropic agenda"  I would venture to suggest that the same would be the position with this AIDS money from the US, this money should be given directly to non governmental organisations, Red Thread and Help and Shelter come to mind, but not to the government since it will not be used for the purpose for which it is given. I will not even mention the woman who was killed at the Best Hospital by an uncaring and indifferent public health delivery system. If I took the time I would be able to document at least 10 such cases during the past 8-9 months. We all saw 60 minutes Sunday night, so why has Ramsammi not been demanding, on our behalf, that the anti viral drugs he has been buying locally and which are manufactured locally, be subjected to testing to determine that they contain what they say that they do, he says that he does not have the cash to do it but he's getting millions of US to fight HIV/AIDS and he is making excuses, so what is going on? Something stinks here, so as far as Ramsammy is concerned he cannot even run his own Ministry much less advise and make excuses for others.

   Then we have the Amerindian affairs situation, all 4 Amerindian organisations in the country are against the introduction of the recently implemented repressive Amerindian Bill. Well if the PPP think that they would have rigged this election and their treatment of the Amerindians would not have mattered, they will have to think again. They are going to have to earn the Amerindian vote this time and frankly I don't see how they can, they can fix Unity house all they want and give Nadir two more Lexuses, it just won't happen, unless they tamper with the results. And tampering with the result is looking more and more difficult now since the entire opposition and the international community are up in arms against GECOM.

   Even the conservative Stabroek news on the 5th June 2006 had this to say in their editorial entitled "shambles" and I quote the first few lines "it is hard to find a period in our recent history when everything that matters seemed to be in shambles"

   I need hardly tell you that Surujbally and GECOM seem hell bent on taking us to civil war and genocide. The deception, the shenanigans and manipulation are monumental; one can hardly find the words to adequately describe it, nobody is that incompetent, so one is inevitably led to the conclusion that it is deliberate.

    Then we have Minister Shadik who it is costing us a fortune to employ, she for example has 3 state owned vehicles parked in her yard, but we are told that in the most recent US releases on human rights, that trafficking in persons is at an all time high in our country, and that young Guyanese are being exported abroad to become sex slaves, I wonder if this genius has figured out the US's definition of trafficking in persons as yet? And what exactly she is doing to protect them?

   To my utter astonishment I even saw a letter in the Catholic Standard written by one D. Mentore entitled "house to house verification can remove those entitled to vote" in which this Mentore, if he exists, refers to Minister Ramsammy's excellent letter on the subject, now ladies and gentlemen this is a catholic newspaper and the perception of us Christians is that the ruling PPP derives its support mainly from non Christians in Guyana and it is no secret, members of the PPP themselves have publicly announced that they are a communist party and at the congress held at Anna Regina last year, the PPP selected 35 people to be executives of the party, not one was a practicing Christian much less a Catholic! Furthermore I am not comfortable with a Catholic Priest Malcolm Rodrigues being so closely associated with the PPP, it gives them credibility but they stand for everything that our religion forbids thieving, execution without trial, corruption, victimisation, and communism. The church should stay out of politics. Pronounce on faith, morals and human rights, but keep letters like Mentore's which are only massages to the powers that oppress us, out of the Catholic Standard.

    On the 17th June 1972 the Republicans in the US who were about to face the electors the next year in 1973 bugged the Democratic Party's national committee's headquarters temporarily located in the Watergate Hotel in Washington DC, no one cared what those tapes contained i.e. what the democrats said in their private meetings, the fact was that at the end of the furore that ensued President Nixon himself had to resign, and several other persons were jailed for this illegal wiretapping since the US constitution has enshrined in its provisions the absolute right to privacy. Our constitution does not actually guarantee absolute privacy but it should, so now in Guyana we have our own Felixgate, is anyone worried that someone has been bugging any or all of us? Of course not, instead we have the Prime Minister writing Commissioner Felix demanding an explanation, I question whether he has that right since the evidence he is using was obtained by trespassing on Felix's common law right to privacy, furthermore the tapes are not even authenticated. To act on it this openly Mr. Hinds is condoning this breach of the Commissioner's legal rights. This country needs a good dose of the rule of law, in fact only a good enema might work. Whoever wins the next election, even if they are the balance of power in control of Parliament, they must have the strength and especially the courage to do it, or we will be doomed to another 40 years of this nonsense!